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What is Xinjiang Cuisine?

What is Xinjiang Cuisine?

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Xinjiang cuisine is a popular cuisine in China

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Xinjiang cuisine is reflective of the many ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region of China.

Xinjiang cuisine is a type of cuisine that is found throughout much of China, as many migrants from the Xinjiang region are setting up Xinjiang restaurants and food stands throughout other regions of the country.

The cooking styles of Xinjiang cuisine are representative of many of the ethnic groups living in the Xinjiang region of China, in particular that of the Uyghurs. Uyghurs are China’s second largest Muslim population.

Roasted mutton and rice and fish are two of the most common dishes in Xinjiang cuisine. There are many lamb and mutton dishes in Xinjiang cuisine given the region’s abundance of the animals. Additionally, due to its Muslim population, much of the food in Xinjiang cuisine is halal.

Other common dishes in Xinjiang cuisine include crispy sheep leg, roasted mutton chops, beet soup, almond crackers, garlic mutton, mutton, and pilau rice.

Though Xinjiang cuisine is not among the eight traditional cuisines in China, it is still a very popular cuisine.

Xinjiang Food Recipes

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In 1996, I beatific my aboriginal angle for a Sichuan cookbook to six publishers. The bounce belletrist came in one by one. Each of them explained, in one way or another, that a bounded Chinese cookbook was too alcove for British readers. Crestfallen, I was additionally incredulous, accepting spent about two years in Sichuan, bistro broadly and actuality afraid by the bounded food. Sichuan was no backwater, but a arena with a citizenry of 80 million. Within China, it was acclaimed for its blood-tingling and characteristic cuisine. Could these editors not let me actuate them of the incomparable charms of fish-fragrant aubergines and mapo tofu?

In retrospect, their averseness was understandable. Although China had boarded on its “reform and aperture up” in 1992, to best Britons it still seemed alien and irrelevant. In the UK, the Chinese aliment arena had mainly acclimatized into a arrangement of Cantonese dishes acclimatized to British tastes. “Chinese food” was both so accustomed that it seemed passé and hardly accepted at all. Practically the alone arresting glimmers of China’s amazing bounded cuisines were casual references to “Szechwan” or “Peking” flavours on the airheaded of contrarily Cantonese restaurants. While the beat cookbooks of Ken Hom, Yan-kit So and Deh-ta Hsiung had alien British readers to archetypal recipes from all over China, China’s decades of brooding had offered outsiders little adventitious to analyze its bounded aliment traditions in the way they had the cuisines of southern Europe.

Historically, the aboriginal Chinese bistro houses in Britain weren’t aimed at bounded barter at all, but at Chinese sailors who had acclimatized about the docks in London’s Limehouse, Liverpool and added cities in the 19th century. The country’s baby Chinese citizenry grew in the aboriginal 20th aeon back a new crawl of acceptance abutting the aboriginal settlers. They all faced discrimination, affronted by Sax Rohmer’s 1913 atypical The Mystery of Fu Manchu, which corrective a ashen account of Chinese Limehouse as a axis of opium and crime.

The acclimatized palates of servicemen abiding from Asia afterwards the additional apple war helped to about-face attitudes

It was alone back Chinese restaurants started aperture in axial London that they began to win the angel of barter who were not Chinese. The aboriginal in the West End seems to accept been the Cathay in 1908 added appeared in the 1930s and 1940s, including the accepted Ley-On in Wardour Street.

By all accounts, it was the acclimatized palates of servicemen abiding from Asia afterwards the additional apple war that helped to about-face attitudes.

After the war, the cardinal of Chinese restaurants in London and added cities grew steadily. In the backward 1950s and aboriginal 1960s, a new beachcomber of Cantonese immigrants from Hong Kong arrived, followed in the 1970s by bags of indigenous Chinese refugees from Vietnam: abounding concluded up in catering. In the 1960s, clusters of Chinese restaurants appeared about Gerrard Artery in axial London and in axial Manchester, both of which bound became accustomed as their cities’ Chinatowns. The old Limehouse Chinatown, abundantly destroyed by wartime bombing, sputtered out as Chinese restaurateurs focused their energies on Soho.

By the time I started reviewing restaurants for Time Out in the backward 1990s, Chinese restaurants and takeaways were a accoutrement beyond the country. Best specialised in the agilely flavoured cuisine of the Cantonese south: dim sum, buzz ducks and barbecued meats that afraid enticingly in restaurant windows, aflame seafood, stir-fried vegetables and claypot stews. While authentic, acceptable Cantonese affable could be begin at the much-loved Mr Kong, Poon’s and the New Mayflower in London, abounding Britons adopted dishes acclimatized to their tastes: brittle duck, candied and acerb pork and egg absurd rice. Added absorbing delicacies were hidden abroad on Chinese-language menus. There was little to claiming the Cantonese ascendancy of the trade. Restaurants were mostly Cantonese-run, as were the importers and sellers of ingredients. Zingy Sichuan pepper and bawdy Pixian chilli bean adhesive were boilerplate to be found. Cantonese was the accent of Chinatown: hardly anyone batten chatty Mandarin.

Over the able two decades, there has been a anarchy in Chinese aliment in Britain, apprenticed by the after-effects and ripples of China’s actualization as a new cultural and political force in the world. The old Cantonese bouncer accept mostly retired from the accouterment business, their children, able in the UK, affective into white-collar jobs. Back China began to accessible up in the aboriginal 1990s, a new bearing of Chinese people, not alone from the Cantonese south but all over the country, accept had the adventitious to analyze the world. Immigrants from added regions, decidedly south-eastern Fujian province, accept arise to assignment in the kitchens of accustomed Chinese restaurants and after to accessible their own. Acceptance accept flocked to British schools and universities, alongside growing numbers of Chinese tourists (the cardinal of Chinese visits to Britain about quadrupled amid 2008 and 2018).

These accompanying armament of a anew assorted citizenry of Chinese restaurant workers and an appropriately assorted basin of Chinese barter accept been appropriately important in about-face British Chinese food. In the past, Chinese restaurants could alone survive by accouterment for the British tastes of their time now, decidedly in university cities, they accept a abundant bazaar of contempo arrivals from China, abounding of them adolescent people, who appetence to eat the affectionate of aliment they adore at home. And back the backward 1990s, that aliment has overwhelmingly been the ambrosial cuisine of Sichuan province.

When my Sichuan cookbook was eventually arise in 2001, Sichuanese aliment was still an alien abundance for the all-inclusive majority of British people. Aliment journalists I met about that time had never able the arresting creep of acceptable Sichuan pepper on their aperture or tasted a appropriately ablaze mapo tofu. Little had been accounting about Sichuanese aliment in English: a brace of American cookbooks (Robert Delfs’s The Acceptable Aliment of Szechwan and Ellen Schrecker’s Mrs Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook) had been the aboriginal to advertise the cuisine, but both were out of print. There were few Sichuanese bodies active in western countries, and until the 1990s, back afterlife aboriginal took me to Sichuan, it would accept been absurd for a greenhorn to analysis a bounded Chinese cookbook on the ground, accession recipes and anecdotic at aboriginal duke bounded activity and adeptness as I was able to. The comestible assemblage at which I’d able in the Sichuanese capital, Chengdu, had never ahead had a adopted student. In the UK, “Szechwan” (an earlier adaptation than the accepted “Sichuan’) was alone acclimated to call generically ambrosial dishes on Chinese menus.

As the new bazaar abridgement emerged in China in the 1990s, the restaurant scene, in the apathy back the Cultural Revolution, already afresh erupted into life. With bread-and-butter awakening came an appetence for one of China liveliest and best aesthetic cuisines. Sichuanese restaurants and bite shops opened all over the country dishes such as shuizhuyu (tender slices of angle in a barmy sea of oil and chillies) and hotpot became berserk fashionable. It was alone accustomed that the new beachcomber of Chinese sojourners and immigrants authoritative their way to Britain brought this appearance with them.

Already, about the time my book was published, the aboriginal shoots of a Sichuan restaurant bounce had appeared in London. I began audition rumours from Chinese accompany of baby restaurants in Acton and Kilburn confined accurate Sichuanese food, and was afraid back I visited Angeles on the Kilburn High Road, with its card of acceptable Sichuan dishes. It was the aperture of Barshu in Soho in 2006 that absolutely put the cuisine on the map. A agent from Shandong province, Shao Wei, capital to accessible a smart, axial restaurant confined the affectionate of aliment his awful able and generally flush Chinese accompany capital to eat. He accumulated a aggregation of bristles chefs from Sichuan, led by the able Fu Wenhong, alien key seasonings from China and, afore the restaurant opened, brought me on lath as a consultant. From the beginning, we absitively to allocate with brittle avoid and added London Chinese staples, and action a abreast Sichuanese card on Chinese terms.

These openings are alone a aftertaste of China’s gastronomic diversity, but accept burst stereotypes of a caked cuisine

Barshu was at the beginning of a broader about-face of the Chinese restaurant scene. Afore long, there were Sichuan restaurants in abounding genitalia of London, as able-bodied as in Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford and added cities alike Cantonese restaurants began abacus Sichuan dishes to their menus. Ambrosial Sichuan hotpot, adored throughout China, started to arise in specialist restaurants with tables cut out to authority bubbles cauldrons of chilli-laced broth.

The cuisines of Hunan, addition chilli-loving province, and the Dongbei (north-eastern) arena followed in Sichuan’s ambrosial wake. Abounding of the new bounded restaurants started out with no English-language publicity but artlessly an eye for alluring Chinese customers, their airheaded absorption Chinese added than bounded comestible fashions. The artery aliment of Xi’an and the abundant arctic west has amorphous to accomplish its mark in London with the aperture of Xi’an Impression, Master Wei, Murger Han and Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles. You can alike arch for the Silk Road in Walthamstow, area Uyghur chef Mukaddes Yadikar cooks up the specialities of her Xinjiang home at her restaurant Etles.

Aside from bounded flavours, the Chinese aliment arena has adapted in added ways. In London, diners can booty their aces from a meal of aggregate dishes with rice, a dim sum lunch, a hotpot feast, a dumpling caricature at xiaolongbao specialist Din Tai Fung or an affected mah jong banquet at Xu. Homegrown restaurants are now in antagonism with all-embracing brands, such as Din Tai Fung and Haidilao. In 2017, the British-born Chinese chef Andrew Wong won a Michelin brilliant for his inventive, historically aggressive cooking.

Beyond the academic dining sector, artery aliment stalls and pop-ups accept opened the kitchen aperture to new tastes and styles. There are toasty-bottomed Shanghainese buns on action at Dumpling Shack in Spitalfields Bazaar and ambrosial Chongqing noodles adapted up in the basement of a pub in Marylebone by Liu Xiaomian. Lillian Luk, originally from Shanghai, offers home-cooked Jiangnan aliment at her Shanghai Supper Clubs addition Shanghainese chef, Jason Li, hosts acclaimed dinners in Wapping beneath the name Dream of Shanghai. While these openings still represent alone a aftertaste of China’s amazing gastronomic diversity, they accept burst old stereotypes of a caked Chinese cuisine.

The availability of Chinese capacity has additionally been transformed. Chinese supermarkets banal Sichuan chilli bean paste, beginning blooming Sichuan pepper, Sichuan pepper oil and adverse heaven chillies. Alike boilerplate supermarkets advertise Chinese brands favoured by Chinese customers, such as Lee Kum Kee seasonings and the addictive Laoganma chilli and atramentous bean sauce. And while Chinatowns and Chinese superstores may accept the greatest ranges of foods, a new bearing of baby east Asian grocers banal best of the basal capacity for Chinese cooking.

Despite all these developments, the UK Chinese restaurant arena faces austere constraints. The abbreviating of clearing rules a few years ago has fabricated it about absurd for restaurants to accompany in new chefs from China. The accelerated amplification of hotpot restaurants reflects not alone the acceptance of the dish, but additionally the actuality that hotpot is a about low-skilled business: it’s abundant easier to acquisition agents to allotment up raw capacity for hotpot than chefs able at wok cookery. There accept been some attempts to acquaint bounded training in Chinese cooking, best afresh with a accord amid Crawley College and the Tianjin School of Cuisine, but best restaurants are aggressive to apply Chinese chefs from the aforementioned bound basin already active in Britain.

The admeasurement of agitative Chinese artery aliment has arise duke in duke with a abatement in added adult cuisine in London’s Chinatown, able Cantonese cooking, already the mainstay, is now about absurd to find. Aside from these specific worries, Chinese restaurateurs, like anybody abroad in the business, accuse of boxy antagonism and aerial rents and rates.

When it comes to Chinese cuisine in Britain, the possibilities are about infinite. Backward 20th aeon assemblage carves China up into four or eight bounded cuisines, but in accuracy every region, province, burghal and boondocks has its own specialities. The abundant south-western arena of Yunnan, for example, is an amazing check of foods and flavours alike Sichuanese and Cantonese cuisines are still about unexplored. While Britons’ appetence for new Chinese foods may be boundless, the adeptness of Chinese restaurants to acknowledge to it is deeply circumscribed. It charcoal to be apparent whether we are at a aiguille of avant-garde Chinese cuisine in Britain, or on the border of a aggregation of new discoveries.

The Aliment of Sichuan by Fuchsia Dunlop (Bloomsbury Publishing, £30). To adjustment a archetype for £26.40 go to Free UK p&p on all online orders over £15.

Xinjiang Food Recipes – xinjiang food recipes
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Cumin Lamb Recipe Instructions

Pad lamb dry with paper towel before cutting. Once cut, combine the lamb with the marinade ingredients in a bowl—cumin powder, cornstarch, oil, light soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Set aside and marinate for 30 minutes.

Once the lamb has been marinated, heat a wok over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds to the wok and dry toast them until fragrant. Turn off the heat, remove the cumin from the wok, and set aside.

Now heat the wok over the highest setting until it starts to smoke. Add two tablespoons of oil to coat the wok, and then immediately add the lamb. Sear the meat until it turns brown and starts to crisp slightly. The high heat will sear the meat, but keep it tender as well.

Now add the cooked cumin seeds, red chili peppers, Sichuan red pepper flakes (or powder), sugar, scallions, cilantro, and salt.

Toss everything together quickly (so that the scallion and cilantro are just wilted), and transfer to a serving dish. Serve hot with plenty of white rice!

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What is Xinjiang Cuisine? - Recipes

As the saying goes, "One can go without eating meat for three days, but can't live one day without naan." Naan, a traditional staple food, shares a long history with people of all ethnicities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Xinjiang naan is made of fermented dough. It is baked in a clay oven. The golden crispy crust is naan's distinctive feature.

The round-shaped naan has always been a symbol of happiness and fortune. When eating Tawa Kawap, people split the naan and share with each other as sharing blessings.

Roasted Stuffed Bun. / CGTN

Unlike most places in China, people living in Xinjiang prefer to roast and not steam stuffed buns. This type of bun looks like a small, golden, square-shaped pillow, and is infused with the rich scent of mutton.

Roasted stuffed buns are a part of the traditional nomadic lifestyle. The herdsman of Xinjiang graze cattle and sheep all throughout the year, and they only take simple tools and ingredients with them, such as a knife and flour. During lunch time, herdsmen would chop up mutton and onion for making buns, and then cook them over a fire. After settling down in cities, they started using clay ovens in order to prevent their food from carbon.

Boiled mutton, or hand-grasped mutton, is a traditional dish of ethnic groups living in northwestern China, such as Mongolian, Tibetan, Hui and Uygur.

The Uygur cooking method is the most interesting of them all. According to an ancient recipe, an entire lamb is cut into 12 pieces and then boiled with simple spices. As a chunk of meat is too big to be held by chopsticks, hands are used when eating, and hence the name.

As a paradise for meat lovers, Xinjiang is best known for lamb kebabs, but for locals, there is nothing like grabbing some appetizing, traditional Uygur grilled lamb, also known as Tonur Kawap.

Tonur Kawap has a history of over 500 years. Chefs usually hang lamb chops with iron hooks, and position them close to the inner wall of a heated clay pit. Compared with kebabs, Tonur Kawap grilled by residual heat retains more moisture, and is thus more tender with a richer taste.

You may know the sauté spicy chicken, also known as Xinjiang big plate chicken, as a famous dish that has spread all over the country. But this recipe was created less than 20 years ago by chef Li Shilin, whose specialty is the sauté spicy chicken. Back then, while his customers enjoyed the taste of the dish, they thought the portion was too small.

This is why Li decided to fry a whole chicken one day, and presented it on a gigantic plate for his guests. After finishing the tantalizing dish, the customers heartily commended that the dish was very satisfying. Since then, orders of "a big plate of chicken" have been pouring in.

Mindful eating is one of the most popular topics of today. But a thousand years ago, Xinjiang forefathers already had their own recipe for healthy eating – the pilaf.

According to local legend, a doctor named Abu was in poor health, and medication did not help. Later on, Abu came up with a nutritional way to stew rice, which tasted and smelled good. He had a small bowl once in the morning and once in the evening, and his body gradually regained nourishment.

He later passed on the "healing recipe" to villagers, and that eventually became the Lamb Pilaf, one of the most common dishes in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang Hand-pulled Noodles. /CGTN

When the art of hand-pulled noodles was introduced from other parts of northwest China into Xinjiang, the locals combined it with their meat-based diet. Later the hybrid Xinjiang hand-pulled noodles dish was created.

Homemade noodles have been a common staple food in northwest China for generations. As the residents of the Hexi Corridor gradually migrated up north, noodles were then introduced to Xinjiang. Local residents stir fry mutton with vegetables, and then mix it with boiled noodles. Nowadays, Xinjiang hand-pulled noodles, also known as Latiaozi, have become a part of local daily cuisine.

Xinjiang Fried Rice Noodles. /CGTN

For the young generation of Xinjiang, the answer to "What should I eat today?" and "Let's grab something to eat" is always that popular dish, Xinjiang Fried Rice Noodles.

Xinjiang Fried Rice Noodles came from southern China, and then introduced to Xinjiang in 1982. After the recipe was modified by locals, half noodles and half spicy sauce became a unique feature of this dish. Therefore, anyone who has eaten it should not forget the fiery taste.

There is a familiar story. A chief from Xinjiang traveled to southwestern Chengdu, a city known for its spicy food, to sell fried rice noodles. However, his business soon fell apart because of the local overly spicy noodles.

Rose Willow Grilled Fish. /CGTN

Tarim River is the mother river of southern Xinjiang. As the river flows through the desert, it not only waters millions of wild poplar forests, but also provides resources for people living by the sides of the river. For example, fish from the river is deeply loved by the local people.

Rose Willow Grilled Fish is the most primitive food along the river. Villagers wash the fish they catch, break off branches of rose willow by the riverside, and then use them to open up the fish. People erect the willow sticks on the ground and roast them slowly over a fire.

During grilling, the fresh red willow secretes juices. Eventually, the wood fragrance combines with the fish to create a memorable taste.

Xinjiang Nut Cake, also known as Qiegao, is a ubiquitous snack in the wide streets and narrow lanes of Xinjiang.

The Nut Cake has a long history. When trade along the Silk Road reached its height, Xinjiang was an important transportation center with food supplies. Nuts were rich in nutrients and easy to preserve. Therefore, Xinjiang Nut Cake became a basic necessity for travelling salesmen.

Recipe Instructions

Soak the jasmine or long grain white rice for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the rice is soaking, blanch the lamb by boiling 4 cups of water in a pot along with the lamb and ginger. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, and then turn off the heat. Use a slotted spoon to pick out the lamb pieces and set them aside, making sure to drain off any excess water. Then use a fine mesh strainer to strain the cooking liquid. Reserve that liquid to cook the rice.

Now heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add ONLY the fatty lamb pieces, and stir-fry to get a nice crust on them. Turn the heat down to medium low, and render the fat until the pieces start to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent. Now turn the heat back up to high and add the blanched lamb in a single layer so as to brown the meat on all sides. This will take a few minutes

Add 2 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid you reserved earlier, along with the salt, soy sauce, and cumin powder, and mix everything well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Now add in the carrots and raisins (if using), and cover for another minute to bring the mixture back up to a boil. Turn off the heat. (Don’t worry, the carrots will finish cooking in the rice cooker. Also, at this point, the taste will be on the salty side, but remember that it will mellow up once mixed in with the rice.)

Pour everything into the rice cooker (or a pot––we cooked it in a cast iron pot this time), and add the rice. The rice should be spread out evenly. There should be enough liquid to see peeking through the rice grains (you may need to add more water if needed), but the liquid level should not be above the rice.

Cover and start the rice cooker. If you are using a pot, turn the heat up to medium high to bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Once the rice is done cooking, open the lid, mix everything together, add salt to taste (if necessary) and enjoy.

If you want to get a little fancy and add more color to the dish, you can garnish with chopped cilantro.

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How to make Cumin Lamb

1. Mix five-spice powder, cooking wine and lamb in a bowl and marinate it for 30 minutes. Get the other seasoning ingredients ready.

2. Heat a wok with oil, and stir-fry the Sichuan Pepper and aniseed until fragrant, then remove the Sichuan pepper and leave the oil in the wok. Add ginger and green onions in the wok, and stir-fry them until fragrant.

3. Add lamb in the wok, and cook it until the color is changed. Add 1 teaspoon of sugars and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

4. Add cumin, sesame and chili powder and continue to cook it until the sauce has reduced to the desired thickness, and then add 1 teaspoon of salt. And stir-fry it a few times.

5. Add garlic and coriander in the wok. Stir-fry it a few times and transfer it on a plate. Serve.

Xinjiang/Uighur Home Cooking

I've recently become aware of the existence of this chain of Xi'an restaurants in NewYork. Are there more elsewhere?

They were recenty referenced in a BBC article about biang biang noodles.

Following my posting a supermarket bought roast rabbit in the Dinner topic, @Anna N expressed her surprise at my local supermarkets selling such things just like in the west supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens. I promised to photograph the pre-cooked food round these parts.

I can't identify them all, so have fun guessing!

Stewed Duck Feet (often served with the snails above)

Beijing Duck gets its own counter.

More pre-cooked food to come. Apologies for some bady lit images - I guess the designers didn't figure on nosy foreigners inspecting the goods and disseminating pictures worldwide.

While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades".

What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most of what you will see will be vegetables from supermarkets, where I can see the Chinese labelling. In "farmer's" or wet markets, there is no labelling and although, If I ask, different traders will have different names for the same vegetable. Many a time I've been supplied a name, but been unable to find any reference to it from Mr Google or his Chinese counterparts. Or if I find the Chinese, can't find an accepted translation so have to translate literally.

Also, there is the problem that most of the names which are used in the English speaking countries have, for historical reasons, been adopted from Cantonese, whereas 90% of Chinese speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔ tōng huà). But I will do my best to supply as many alternative names as I can find. I shall also attempt to give Chinese names in simplified Chinese characters as used throughout mainland China and then in traditional Chinese characters, now mainly only used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among much of the Chinese diaspora. If I only give one version, that means they are the same in Simp and Trad.

I'll try to do at least one a day. Until I collapse under the weight of vegetation.

Please, if you know any other names for any of these, chip in. Also, please point out any errors of mine.

I'll start with bok choy/choy. This is and alternatives such as pak choi or pok choi are Anglicised attempts at the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin! However in Cantonese it is more often 紹菜 Jyutping: siu6 coi3. In Chinese it is 白菜. Mandarin Pinyin 'bái cài'. This literally means 'white vegetable' but really just means 'cabbage' and of course there are many forms of cabbage. Merely asking for bái cài in many a Chinese store or restaurant will be met with blank stares and requests to clarify. From here on I'm just going to translate 白菜 as 'cabbage'.

Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis

This is what you may be served if you just ask for baicai. Or maybe not. In much of China it is 大白菜 dà bái cài meaning 'big cabbage'. In English, usually known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, etc. In Chinese, alternative names include 结球白菜 / 結球白菜 ( jié qiú bái cài ), literally knotted ball cabbage, but there are many more.

This cabbage is also frequently pickled and becomes known as 酸菜 (Mand: suān cài Cant: syun1 coi3) meaning 'sour vegetable', although this term is also used to refer to pickled mustard greens.

In 2016, a purple variety of napa cabbage was bred in Korea and that has been introduced to China as 紫罗兰白菜 (zǐ luó lán bái cài) - literally 'violet cabbage'.

Yesterday, an old friend sent me a picture of her family dinner, which she prepared. She was never much of a cook, so I was a bit surprised. It's the first I've seen her cook in 25 years. Here is the spread.

I immediately zoomed in on one dish - the okra.

For the first 20-odd years I lived in China, I never saw okra - no one knew what it was. I managed to find its Chinese name ( 秋葵 - qiū kuí) in a scientific dictionary, but that didn't help. I just got the same blank looks.

Then about 3 years ago, it started to creep into a few supermarkets. At first, they stocked the biggest pods they could find - stringy and inedible - but they worked it out eventually. Now okra is everywhere.

I cook okra often, but have never seen it served in China before (had it down the road in Vietnam, though) and there are zero recipes in any of my Chinese language cookbooks. So, I did the sensible thing and asked my friend how she prepared it. Here is her method.

1. First bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the washed okra and boil for two minutes. Drain.

2. Top and tail the pods. Her technique for that is interesting.

3. Finely mince garlic, ginger, red chilli and green onion in equal quantities. Heat oil and pour over the prepared garlic mix. Add a little soy sauce.

4. Place garlic mix over the okra and serve.

When I heard step one, I thought she was merely blanching the vegetable, but she assures me that is all the cooking it gets or needs, but she did say she doesn't like it too soft.

Also, I should have mentioned that she is from Hunan province so the red chilli is inevitable.

Anyway, I plan to make this tomorrow. I'm not convinced, but we'll see.

Two of my family members are pescetarian, one of whom is my picky daughter who only likes a few types of fish cooked in very specific ways so to all intents and purposes is mostly vegetarian. Many Chinese soup recipes involve meat or fish, or at least meat broth, so I'd love to find a few more recipes that would suit my whole family (I also don't eat much pork as it doesn't always agree with me, and a lot of soups involve pork so this is also for my benefit!). Vegetarian would be best, or pescetarian soups that are not obviously seafood based (I could get away with sneaking a small amount of dried shrimp in, for instance, but not much more than that!).

Any kind of soup will do, although I'd particularly like some simple recipes that could be served alongside a multi-dish meal. But I'm always interested in new recipes so any good soup recipes would be welcome!

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What is Uyghur cuisine?

If you're all over double-carbs and love your lamb, then you must seek out Uyghur food.

In Australia, we have become accustomed to a certain style of Chinese food, a takeaway menu spanning the dumplings, the sizzling and the chilli. But China is home to many saliva-inducing, distinct regional cuisines and Uyghur is just one of them.

Before you start thinking it’s all Sichuan spice, guess again. The Xinjiang province (home to the Uyghurs) borders Mongolia, Russia, India and all the Stans and was the link on the Silk Road between Asia and the Middle East. As a result, Uyghur cuisine meets somewhere in the middle between central Asian and Turkic tradition, bubbling away from the melting pot of that famous trade route.

The Uyghur ethnic minority is predominately Muslim and so its cuisine is Halal, with lamb as the base of many dishes. Hand-pulled noodles, steamed buns, dumplings, spiced skewers and homemade bread are all on high demand.

The Hiwilla family opened Tarim Uyghur Restaurant five years ago in the western Sydney suburb of Auburn. Sultan and Zulfiye left behind their 20-plus years in science and teaching to migrate to Australia from the Xinjiang province in 2006. It was here where they decided to follow their food passions, opening Tarim’s to pay tribute to Uyghur food.

“Uyghur culture and its people aren’t very mainstream,” tells son and restaurant manager, Dilyar Hiwilla. “We are an insular community (not very well-known) and because of that, food is such a great way to introduce and spread one’s own culture.

"We want people to get to know the culture through food and over food.”

As the province is farthest from the sea, seafood is nowhere to be found on the menu. Rather, there are lamb-centric dishes with a few chicken and vegetable additions.

“The lamb broth is an essential part of many of our dishes and we make our broth every day,” Hiwali tells SBS. “We start preparing the broth at least two hours before opening and keep it simmering throughout the day and into the night for anywhere up to nine hours.”

Overall, the cuisine is mild with a few spicier highlights that you can customise to order. Cumin is the spice star of this show and tomatoes provide the base of many Uyghur sauces.

Handmade dried fried noodles are bursting with spices.
Source: Tarim Uyghur Restaurant

All the dishes at Tarim's are made fresh on site every day and unlike many of its Asian counterparts, rice takes a backseat to noodles and bread. “In Uyghur cuisine, bread and pastry is the staple,” says Hiwilla. Their goshnan is the popular meat bread that the region has become known for – a crisp, pan-fried, homemade dough filled with lamb and onion.

Their well-loved noodle dish of lagman is made by hand-pulling and blanching a simple dough, then wok-tossing the noodles in a lamb broth with cumin, chilli, lamb, capsicum and cabbage. These noodles are long, stretchy and delightfully chewy once cooked, prepared each day by Dilyar’s mother. Meanwhile, his father, Sultan, prepares the stir-fries and sauces to-order.

“Having a meal without meat isn’t necessarily common [in Uyghur cuisine] and we wanted to provide options for our customers,” Dilyar says. Any of the noodles can be made vegetarian-friendly, and the sticky eggplant and green bean dishes make for satisfying sides.

You’ll find customers dropping in for a quick bite, but we highly recommend tackling their hearty menu in groups and taking the casual tour of the Xinjiang province. With their large portion sizes, Tarim Uyghur Restaurant is the epitome of family-style comfort food that is made for sharing if you can’t finish it, there’s a doggy bag in your future.

Recipe: Xinjiang-style Dapanji Braised Chicken, a.k.a. "Big Plate Chicken" (大盘鸡)

So we wanted to show you how to make Uighur-style of Dapanji, a.k.a. the aptly translated ‘big plate of chicken’.

The Uighurs are a Turkish ethnic group from the Xinjiang province in the far North West of China, and have a fascinatingly awesome cuisine. They've got a solid mix of Central Asian and Northwest Chinese flavors - lamb features heavily, the grill and the tandoor's used, and they have their own version of pilaf (called 'polo' or 'shouzhuafan'). But at the same time, they'll use certain Chinese ingredients and also make use of the wok. This dish is one of the most beloved in the region, and a great place to start with Xinjiang food.

Video is here. We decided to also include in a recipe for those wide kudaimian pulled noodles that’re often served with this… but if you’re not feeling ambitious you could always opt for any sort of thick dried Asian noodles instead.


One whole chicken cut into pieces -or- chicken wings,

1.5kg. So really, the ideal sort of chicken for this dish would be an Asian variety of chicken cut into pieces across the bone. and if that's convenient for you, Iɽ implore you to go that route. If that sort of thing would be difficult for you to get, my sub would be chicken wings. You could cleave them in half, or honestly you could probably leave them in whole as well. I've seen some Western recipe writers call for boneless breast or thigh here, but I really think that's a dramatic reinterpretation of the dish, and youɽ also run the risk of dry chicken. Wings aren't too intimidating, and the essence's the same.

Potato, 800g. Cut into large chunks. You don’t want your potatoes to be too small else they’ll end up dissolving into the braise.

3 minced and reconstituted -or- Hungarian Sweet Paprika, 2 tbsp -or- Sichuan Pixian Doubanjiang, 2 tbsp. So Xinjiang xianjiao is what gives the Dapanji its characteristic red color… this mild chili is super red, and dyes basically anything it touches. Now, this chili’s sort of difficult to source even in China, so substitutions might obviously be necessary. To me, this chili is very similar to a paprika chili… so if you can get your hands on some dried paprika chilis (in China, hongjiao), I think that would be the most ideal sub. Similarly, if you got some quality Hungarian sweet paprika that should also be fine. In China outside of Xinjiang the most common sub is some Sichuan Pixian doubanjiang – you can go that route too, but in my opinion I think paprika would be closer to the original. We also got a real interesting lead on what these chilis might be called in English. see the note below.

White sugar, ¼ cup This will be mixed in with a half cup of oil to make a ‘tangse’, or caramel, for the initial step of frying the chicken.

2 inches Cut into slices, to be fried together with the chicken.

1 tbsp. Added when frying the chicken.

4. Added when frying the chicken.

Cinnamon/Cassia (桂皮), 1 stick. Added when frying the chicken. Note that this, just like what you’d get a supermarket in the West, is actually Cassia bark and not the so-called “true cinnamon” from Ceylon.

Black Cardamom (草果), 2 pod. Added when frying the chicken. Slightly crushed to open.

Dried Chaotianjiao Heaven Facing Chilis (干朝天椒),

15. A dapanji isn’t set-your-mouth-on-fire spicy, but it should have some kick. Adding in about fifteen whole dried chilis in with your braising liquid does the job nicely (no need to deseed them). If you’re outside China, dried Thai birds eye chilis should work just as well, or you could play around with Mexican chilis (anything unsmoked from the Capsicum Annum cultivar, e.g. Arbols, would likely be fine).

Dried bay leaf (香叶), 1. To be added when braising.

Leek (大葱), ½. Cut up a half a leek into strips, these’ll be added about halfway through the braise.

Garlic, 1 head. Peel a head of garlic, these’ll be added when there’s about 15 minutes left of the braise. Note that I add the garlic a bit earlier than many recipes might (most common is to see it added five minutes until it’s finished), mostly because I fucking love munching on garlic that’s been softened in a braise.

Mild chilis, 1 small red chili (红辣椒) and one small green chili (青辣椒). Cut into wedges. Neither of these chilis are very spicy, so you could also opt for one small green or red bell pepper.

Salt, 1 tbsp. To season. If you’re using doubanjiang in the place of xianjiao chilis, cut this out.

Chicken boullion powder (鸡粉), 1 tbsp. To season.

Process, Dapanji.

If using Xinjiang xianjiao chili, finely mince and reconstitute the chili. You’re aiming to get this into a super-fine mince – if you got a food processor (we don’t), I imagine that’d be a help. Once it’s fine enough for you, add in some water – we added roughly two tablespoons. Leave that aside for about thirty minutes - the chili will end up absorbing the water and forming a sort of paste.

Prep your ingredients. I’d use that time to peel and slice your ginger, peel the potato and cut into large chunks, crush the black cardamom pods, cut the leek and mild chilis into strips/biased wedges, peel the garlic… measuring everything out so that it’s good to go once you’re ready to fry.

Blanch the chicken pieces. Blanch the chicken in boiling water for three minutes or so. Because the braise isn’t going to feature much liquid, we’re not going to be able to skim the scum, blood, and impurities from the braise. The quick blanch’ll clean our chicken right up so it’s good to braise.

Make the tangse (caramel). This is a relatively common step in many Chinese braises. To make the tangse, add in a half cup of oil and a quarter cup of sugar to a wok over medium heat. The sugar will begin to melt into the oil, and after a couple minutes it’ll deepen in color to something resembling a caramel. For this stage, it’s important that you stir constantly, and know that tangse can go from zero to midnight real quick. All in all, it’s better to have an overly blonde tangse than a burnt one.

Fry the chicken pieces in with the tangse, then add in the ginger and the salt/chicken boullion. Fry the chicken with the tangse for 30 seconds or so, then add in the ginger and fry for another 30 seconds. Sprinkle with salt and chicken boullion to season – I know it seems a bit strange to season so early in a braise, but things end up getting a bit unwieldy near the end when the potatoes are nearly dissolved.

Add in the xianjiao chili, then the Sichuan peppercorns, black cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon. Add in the xianjiao chili (or some Hungarian sweet paprika, or some Pixian doubanjiang) and coat the chicken with it. Then, add in those spices and let them fry for about 45 seconds or so until it’s all just starting to smell awesome.

Add in 400 mL of water, and nestle in your potatoes, chaotianjiao heaven facing chilis, and bay leaf. Cover and let simmer on low. 400 mL of water might feel like a bit of a small amount (it won’t cover all of your ingredients), but the idea is that the ingredients are going to steam in addition to braise. Because of that, after you cover it you really don’t want to peek. This’ll end up cooking about an hour in total – we still got three ingredients to add (the leek, the garlic, and the mild fresh chilis), so we’ll mix it when we open it up to add those ingredients.

After 30 minutes, add in the leek. At this point, the braising liquid should still look ‘water-y’ and the potatoes should be mostly intact. Toss the leek into the braising liquid, give everything a mix, and cover.

15 minutes later (45 into the braise), add in the garlic. Now the braise should start to look like it’s coming together. The very edges of the potato should be starting to dissolve – if you eat a potato it’ll be roughly cooked through but not very soft. Now, I should note that I add in the garlic a bit early – when I was researching this dish, the Han Xinjiang guy at my market was insistent that the garlic be added at the very end, five minutes before finishing. I like my garlic soft and cooked through so I can munch on it though, so I add in in here.

15 minutes later (60 minutes into the braise), add in the mild fresh chilis. These will only need five minutes or so to cook.

Serve. Serve this with the kudaimian noodles below. Generally, it's best to serve them after you've already munched on the dapanji a bit so that you can get them all in that braising liquid.

Ingredients, Kudaimian Pulled Noodles:

Bread Flour -or- Dumpling Flour (高筋面粉), 250g. Basically looking for a high gluten content, we used bread flour.

Oil. To roll the noodles in before resting.

Process, Kudaimian Pulled Noodles:

Ok, now before we get into this, a quick word of warning: hand pulled noodle making is more of a skill than a recipe. If you’re new to noodle pulling, it might take a few tries to get your noodles right – by far the most common issue is noodles that’re a bit too thick, which I’ll talk about how to save in the notes below.

Disclaimer number two… we’re not the most experienced noodle pullers. Steph’s from Guangzhou (where there’s not exactly much of a tradition of this northern-style hand pulled noodle making), so it isn’t exactly something she grew up with. To give you an idea, about a third of our noodles we had to ‘save’ using the technique in the notes.

In any event, this variety of hand pulled noodles is vastly easier than lamian, so it’s a good place to start. Also, ɻiang biang' noodles are basically the same method, but are divided into smaller pieces and cut in half lengthwise with a chopstick.

Mix together the flour and salt, then slowly incorporate the water into the dough. Rest for 10 minutes. We’ve found doing this by hand is actually a bit easier than using the stand mixer. Add the water bit by bit, kneading and incorporating it into the dough. Once the dough is doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore and has been kneaded into a ball shape, it’s done. Cover with a warm, damp towel and set it aside to let the dough relax.

Cut the dough into eight even pieces, roll them into a sort of fat ‘log’ shape, coat generously with oil, and set aside for 60 minutes. Each one of these pieces is going to make one big noodle – this is like the noodle from KenM’s nightmares. Make sure the logs are coated real well with oil, cover them with plastic wrap, and set it aside for one hour. This second rest is gunna be really critical, if it doesn’t rest for an hour, you’re not really gunna be able to pull them.

Pull the noodles. As always, when I’m trying to explain what to do with dough via the written word, I sound like a convoluted doofus, so take a look at 4:49 in the video for a visual. First thing you’ll do is flatten your log by pressing it down with your palm – the flatter it gets here, the easier it’ll be to pull. Then, grab a hold of the two edges of the log and stretch it out four times. Now this is going to start to begin to look like a noodle. Then, continue to pull and smack the noodle against the table – this smacking motion’ll help the noodle thin out in the center as well. Once the noodle’s roughly as wide as your arm span, you’re finished. Just tear off and toss the little knobs of dough where your hands were pulling from.

Boil the noodle. Boil the noodles until they float. These northwestern style noodles are a bit thicker, so it might take a minute or so.

Note on how to rescue kudaimian that’re too thick:

One of the difficulties with learning hand pulled noodles is that if you screw up, you can’t just roll it back into a ball and start over – it won’t really form because of the oil.

If your noodle’s a bit too thick, use your fingers to lightly spread it horizontally, then pass it through your middle and index fingers with both hands while lightly pressing and pulling to straighten it back out – this motion is at 5:33 in the video. Again, this isn’t really impressive or correct or anything, but it’ll thin out the noodle and everyone’ll be none the wiser (unless you’re, uh… filming yourself).

Note on other Dapanji ingredients:

So a couple things that we didn’t add that you might see in a few dapanji recipes… (1) tomato paste (2) some other spices and (3) beer.

So right, Uighurs actually do use tomato paste in some dishes – the brand of tomato paste I buy here in Shenzhen is actually from Xinjiang. You could use half Xinjiang chili and half tomato paste to get that sort of red color if you like – it might be a bit more visually appealing, as our dapanji had a number of red flakes scattered about. We opted for pure chili as we were basing the recipe off of the dapanji of our favorite Xinjiang restaurant in Shenzhen, which didn’t use tomato paste.

Also, if you poke around, you’ll see that each restaurant’ll sort of has their own spice mix. We went with a basic one that was sort of a copycat of a Uighur-run Xinjiang restaurant we love in Shenzhen (plus Bay Leaf). The most commonly added ingredient that we didn’t use would probably be fennel seed… but sometimes you’ll see some places toss some more exotic stuff in too.

Lastly, many of the recipes around Xiachufang (the Chinese AllRecipes) feature a light beer as the braising liquid. Uighurs are Muslim though, so we just opted for water. Beer wouldn’t hurt though, so if you feel like it you could toss that in as well.

Note on Xianjiao Chili:

Again, please don't hesitate to sub this. I figured itɽ be almost impossible for people to find abroad, except.

I was chatting with someone on YouTube and I'm now like 70% sure that this is Kashmiri Chili. They look really, really similar, have the same purpose (red color), similar heat level (

1k scoville), and if you look at a map that pathway seems like it makes a ton of sense. You should be able to find them on Amazon - at the very least, even if they aren't the same, I think itɽ be a nice sub.

Inner Mongolia Specialty & Drinks

When you are in Inner Mongolia, no matter you have meals in local restaurants or have dinner in Mongolian yurts, you could taste Mongolian snacks or cuisines. The specialties include Braised camel hoof, Kumiss, Ghee, Hulun Lake fish feast, Mongolian boiled lamb, Mongolian milk tea.

Roast Lamb

It is the traditional cuisine to entertain the honored guest or to celebrate the grand pageant in Mongolia. The sheep is selected abortively, about 20 kg each one. The whole shape is dressed, stuffed with seasonings such as shallot, ginger, salt, etc., then baked. The cuisine keeps the complete shape of the sheep, kneeled down in a square trencher, and is prized for the fresh color, crispy skin, and tender, aromatic meat.

Mongolian Milk Tea

Milk tea (boiled brick tea with cow&rsquos or sheep&rsquos milk, along with a little salt added) is the indispensable part of the Mongolian&rsquos daily life. When a guest come to the yurt of a Mongolian family, he will be treated by milk tea and the guest should accept with both hands. And then, he should move the tea to his left hand, dip the tip of the third finger of his right in the tea, toss it up in the air and lick the fingertip. This is the way showing gratitude for the hospitality of the Mongolian.

Watch the video: Uyghur Food Is the Chinese Food You Should Know About Cooking in America (August 2022).